Careful not to fall into a trap of your own making
“Watashi, dekichattan desu yo.”
Those were the words spoken to me by Shinoda Miho at the Taiyou to Ciscomoon auditions. Of course, by “dekichatta” she did not mean to say that she had gotten pregnant.
Shinoda’s words were the answer to a question I had posed to her. “How were you able to so completely devote yourself to gymnastics? How on earth were you able to work that hard?” She answered: “When I was told to do something, I found that somehow I was just… able to do it (dekichatta). And when I could do it, I was told to try things that were more and more challenging. And somehow, I could simply do those things as well.” That’s how she explained it to me.
All the members of Taiyou to Ciscomoon have this aspect about them to some extent. You might know someone like this from school or work — the type who’s seemingly capable of anything. They possess something that just stands out about them; they’re playing a whole different ball game compared to the average person. It’s a talent on a level where, if an ordinary person tried to challenge them on it, they would simply never reach their level no matter how hard they tried.
When the average girl thinks about things like that, they might go “ah, it must be nice to be someone with a talent like that.” Hey, even I’m envious of people like that. But what you need to realize is that capable people have plenty of their own hardships and pitfalls in life as well.
The delinquent woman’s energy is her path to opportunity!
By “energetic” woman, I don’t mean someone who simply works hard — I’m talking about the type that is commonly known as the “delinquent” or “yankee” woman.
Today they’ve all but disappeared from the scene, but in my childhood it was the Golden Age of yankees. Yankees were, in a word, unruly people. Everything from their fashion to the language they used to the way they had fun… It’s like they had an entire culture of their own.
“Yankee” was a way of life.
There are many different kinds of yankees, but the tougher ones would have something resembling the traditional masculine aesthetic values. By that, I mean to say that their “weapons” were chivalry, fighting skill, and leadership. It felt like they were constantly living life at full throttle, trying to see which one of them could make the biggest name for themselves.
Of course, there were also lots of yankees who couldn’t have cared less about aesthetics like that. They cared only about putting down everyone who was weaker than them. I knew guys like that, too. Whenever I saw someone like that walking towards me on the street, I’d be thinking “oh crap, how much money do I have on me today…?” They’d force you to hand them your money for even something as minor as having your eyes meet theirs. The only thing I could do at times like that was think “ah man, they spotted me” before quietly handing them my wallet. It’s no secret that there were yankees like that around, too.
Sexiness isn’t just about hairstyles and miniskirts!
I would estimate that among the girls who want to be popular, a good percentage of them choose to do so by presenting themselves in a sexy way. But when it comes to the ones who do so mostly by wearing miniskirts with slits along with one-piece camisole dresses and such, while they might say “I just wear them because I like this kind of fashion” or “I just think it’s cute,” wouldn’t you agree that the thought running in the back of their minds is that they hope guys would find them sexy?
The only problem is, there can be differences between what girls think of as being sexy and what guys see as being sexy.
In my case for example, when I see a somewhat chubby girl walking down the street and she’s sweating because it’s summer, I immediately feel aroused. When I see how her sweat has made her bra strap partly visible through her blouse, it just makes me go “woah!” Not to mention if some of the meat on her back plops out from over the belt of her skirt…! Another thing that’s nice and indecent is when a girl is wearing white jeans and you can see her panty line, or when a girl has her hair in a ponytail and you can see her ears — isn’t that erotic in a way, too? And when you’re with a girl who’s somewhat plump and she says “it’s embarrassing — turn off the lights,” that just fires me up. I don’t think feelings like that are something girls could understand.
It would be difficult for me to explain why I find things like that sexy, but I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way about the things I just listed. Feel free to ask your male friends if you don’t believe me. I’m sure many of them will be going, “ah, yeah, I totally get that.“
“Strange” is just another word for “addictive”
You know when you go to a pet shop and you’re greeted by all these friendly dogs, but then you see this one shy dog in the corner… and it actually looks all the cuter for it? Rather than the dogs who are looking at you like “buy me already woof woof!,” I find the dogs who look like they’re saying “I don’t care either way…” much cuter. While it’s kind of questionable to compare her to a dog, there was a girl like that in Morning Musume before: the now-graduated Fukuda Asuka.
When I first saw Fukuda at the ASAYAN “Female Rock Vocalist Audition,” she was just like that. While the other entrants were all smiling and acting super-friendly, there was this one girl who wasn’t smiling much but was rather beaming in a different, more low-key way. That’s not in any way to say that she was “gloomy” or “plain,” only that while the others were all trying to push forward, I was drawn to her because of how she seemed like she was pulling back in a way.
Sure, I also just thought, “well, isn’t this girl cute with her puffy cheeks and all.” But it was more the yin side of her that really drew me to her — so damn impudent, but so cute. It’s like she was trying to come across as tough by using her facial expressions. Fukuda is the one who most gave me a feeling of that rock’n’roll spirit. It felt as if she was telling me, “if you’re just going to drag me along for no good reason, I’d rather you didn’t let me through at all.“
Why are some women so adorable when angry?
I’ve been hearing that in recent times there are more and more girls who will actually get violent with their boyfriends when they get angry at them during fights. That is some scary stuff.
Now, I personally think it’s fine if a girl is, say, kicking up a bit of a racket in the guy’s arms or something, and I think it’s still acceptable if we’re only talking about something on the level of her giving him a good, honest, teary-eyed, open-handed slap. But violently throwing things or seriously hitting someone? That can’t be okay. Being subjected to something like that would surely make the guy quickly start losing his feelings for her.
Guys do not like it when girls are angry. Every guy would rather have the girl in their life always be in a good mood. However, there are some girls such as Morning Musume’s Iida Kaori who actually come across as adorable or funny when they get angry — to the point where TV hosts will try to make her angry on purpose. If you happen to be someone like that, I think that’s pretty great.
Iida is one of those girls who everyone would agree has lovely facial features. And yet, those TV hosts will pick up on the smallest changes in her facial expression and they’ll say things like “she has a scary look on her face!” or “oh no, Iida’s angry!” They poke fun at her like that, trying to make her even more angry. While Iida herself is not aware of this fact, the reason they all do that to her is because her being angry is actually one of her charms. I consider it one of her talents. It’s never an unpleasant type of angry with her.
— Today, we would like to ask you two to each name and talk about five singles that you like.
Fukumura: That’s going to be difficult…
Yamaki: Does that mean songs that impressed me personally?
— It’s completely up to you. You can name songs that you used to love listening to as a child, or you can name songs that have been memorable to you performing them in your respective groups, or anything else. It’s not that they have to be necessarily your favorite five of all time. How about you two take turns? What’s your first song, Yamaki?
Yamaki: I’ve already talked about it lots of times, but: “Kimagure Princess.” My list wouldn’t be complete without this one. It’s the song that made me aware of Morning Musume and Hello! Project in the first place. I had this classmate who was hooked on them and it was that classmate who got me into it. I had my prejudices — I thought idols could only be “cute,” and no one in my family had ever listened to anything even close to idols, so I really didn’t know a thing about what idols actually were. That was when I heard “Kimagure Princess” and it was just this huge shock for me. “But this isn’t anything like the idols I know!” It didn’t take long until I was hooked.
Paipai: This book is in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Hello! Project, and so first I’d just like to say: congratulations!
Takahashi: Thank you.
Paipai: Something that caught me off-guard recently was you appearing at Morning Musume ’17’s Budokan concert.
Takahashi: Ah, the surprise appearance.
Paipai: What surprised me the most about it was how you stood on stage, looking like you’d only just been up there yesterday or something! I was astonished seeing you looking like that.
Takahashi: Really?! I didn’t mean to appear that way! (laughs)
Paipai: I know you’re mainly working in fashion right now, so I was just thinking how it was even possible for you to still have an aura like that. Like, I know you still perform at fan club events and so, but I would think you’d be at least a little bit nervous when appearing on a stage in front of 8,000 people.
Takahashi: Oh, I was super nervous. It was a complete surprise appearance so I even had to do the rehearsal with no sound. So then when I got on stage it just felt so alien to me. I was freaking out.
Part Eleven: “Onda Riku! Kaedy! w-inds.! Wooow!”
Writers Yuzuki Asako and Asai Ryo
profile the lyrics of Hello! Project songs!
Song #1: Tsubaki Factory – “Just Try!”
Asai: Thinking about recent things that have moved me, the first thing that pops to my mind has to be “Just Try!“
Yuzuki: Amazing song. It made me laugh when I heard it.
Asai: “Samui samui iitatte atsuku mo naranu” (“doesn’t matter how much you complain about how cold it is — it’s not going to get any warmer“) — I must’ve told that to myself a hundred times this winter.
Yuzuki: “Shiranu ga hotoke na no ni yo no naka jouhou darake” (“ignorance is bliss, yet the world is full of information“) — did she see something unpleasant online or something? “Tanoshii toki wo sugosu houhou kimochi wo kirikaeru shika nai” (“the only way to have a good time is to change your attitude“). ♪ Hoooraaa hoooraaa… ♪
Asai: ♪ Fuuushiiigiii deeeshooo~ ♪
Yuzuki: That’s such a scary part of the song. (laughs) It sounds like the beginning of a nightmare.